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Meet the L.A. Influencer Who Is Trying to Get Famous By Never Tipping at Restaurants and Bars

The anonymous account posts how much money he has saved in two weeks of refusing to tip, sometimes on bills as high as $389 and on a meal at Republique. Is he just cheap? Proving a point? Or just being a dick? Surprisingly, the admin spoke with us.

An anonymous L.A. influencer is turning everyone's lightly-awkward exchange—when a food service worker flips over their iPad so you can fill in the tip percentage— into some of the most controversial content on social media right now. And today, we talked to them about it.

In the videos, the content creator always takes out their phone to record their hand striking a line through the tip space on the check, including on bills as high as $389 and from a meal at Republique.

@ZeroDollarsTip on Instagram (and @IDontTip on TikTok) is the Internet's latest villain, at least to the legions of food service workers who bust their ass every day to serve food and drinks at restaurants and bars. They have been tearing the person apart in the comments section.

"Don’t go anywhere, people are trying to make a living, tip yourself 0 dollars next time you wanna treat other humans like trash," said a person in one of ZeroDollarTips posts, in which he goes to Maru and spends $12.75. In another video, in which the influencer spends $58 at Zinc, another person commented, "trash human behavior."

Remarkably, there are others who cheer the anonymous admin behind the account, and some even call the person a hero.

"Let’s make this a thing, guys," read one comment on a post in which zero tips were given on an iced latte at Concierge Cafe.

Tipping as a subject remains one of the most contentious topics in L.A.'s restaurant and bar culture. We alone have published three features over the last year, including on restaurant owners withholding tips and one "no tipping"-based restaurant in Pasadena that was sued by its workers. Servers depend on tips to make their living. Currently, the minimum wage for tipped workers in California is $16 and the average cost of living in Los Angeles is $3,165 monthly for a single person alone.

Every few months, the question pops up on Reddit, usually from the consumer side, alleging that "tipping is getting out of control." The conversation about tipping is inevitable when meeting up with friends who have just returned from popular non-tipping countries such as Japan.

Eater L.A. recently published a feature on the new owners of Burgerlords and their new no-tip minimalist smash burger concept, where the price you see on the menu is what you pay without any further tip expectations.

To figure out whether they think they're really standing for something or just being a cheap-o, L.A. TACO reached out to the person behind this account over DM.

Surprisingly, he responded with a request to be interviewed via email. Herein, is their justification for such serial stiffing.

L.A. TACO: When did you officially start this project?

ZeroDollarsTip: It’s a lifestyle. On June 1st this year, I realized the first video on TikTok.

What inspired you to start this project? Are you doing this because you’re frugal or don’t believe in tips? Are you trying to prove a point? Or is this a genuine human experiment?

I feel that people have a lot of issues they don’t wanna talk about or have never experienced that things can be different. It’s not okay to wait a month for a doctor’s appointment, it’s not okay to have dirty streets in the city with one of the highest income taxes. And it’s not okay to put the responsibility on paying waiter’s salary on the customer. It’s time for change.

I was in one of the bakeries in L.A., and after ordering a danish that costs $3, girl turned the iPad and I saw: $1 / $2 / $3 tips options. $3 tips on a bun that costs $3, man. That moment NoTip was born.

And here is my Instagram recently is growing even faster than TikTok.

Has a server, barista, or anyone in the service industry ever given you a dirty look or confronted you as you walk away?

Tips are optional, but dirty looks are apparently included. Recently, I left No Tip in probably the most dangerous bar in Los Angeles. Wait until you see it soon on my TikTok and Instagram.

Have you ever worked in the service industry yourself where you received tips?

Yes, I did, and I made a lot of money on tips. A lot. How do you think I bought that Prada wallet?

Around how many restaurants or establishments have you not tipped at?

I count money, not establishments. As you can see from waiters’ salaries— restaurants do count their money, too.

How much money have you saved in total since starting this project?

It’s been almost a month and a total number I will reveal on July 1st, but the first two weeks saved me around $300.

Do you have any long-term goals to change the culture of tipping in the U.S.?

I plan to change people’s perspective on their money. You don’t have to feel bad if you don’t waste your money just because other people force you too. I am showing how to be free. Best regards, NoTip

Thank you for speaking with us.

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